Getting the true essence of Omani beaches

By Lakshmi Kothaneth — MUSCAT: April 9 – He is an artist who has been based in London for most of the time, but for the last two years, he has been stationed in Oman and after his teaching hours, Stephen Grant’s focus is on Omani beaches almost on a daily basis.
Stephen’s paintings of the beaches have a story to tell to the world.
For one year, Stephen studied the Ghubrah Beach and his series of sketches that later turned out to be paintings were part of the exhibition in Glasgow that brought together by a group of landscape artists.
Ask him how it went, and he simply says, “I think it went fairly well and usually once I am finished with paintings I am not that interested with them. I just prefer working.”
What interested him, however, was the response from the public — they were surprised to see such beaches existed in contrast to the common image portrayed of the region in the media. His little brown paper drawing book records everything he sees. Once in the studio the paintings become bigger maybe three to four metres long mostly all done on linen.
“I paint on linen as I prefer linen because it is lot easier. I reproduce the drawing from the brown paper. I like the brown paper. Linen is a natural ocher colour. Also the landscape here is very ocher — everything comes from ocher unlike in UK where everything has a blue green base and here it is ocher base,” said Stephen, while continuing with his strokes carefully noting down everything before his subject moves.
979291Equipped with drawing pad and pen, the artist has been visiting beaches outside Muscat as well. He feels the landscape portrays the culture of a land and its people. People evolve but landscapes remain. The most distinct aspect of Omani beaches is that in many countries beaches are tourism attraction but in Oman they are part of the lifestyle.
“In Oman, beaches are part of the lifestyle. I think it is beautiful to see in places like Shatti al Qurum people are enjoying their time, playing football on the beach, exercising, running or walking.”
What is interesting is also what the landscapes have to convey.
According to Stephen, “Regardless of geography, the landscapes have something to say. People do not often understand how much they have. People focus so much on what is different about each other. But as a matter of fact, landscapes have no boundaries. Beach is a beach anywhere and the same goes with mountains. When people see these landscapes of Oman somewhere else like in London or Glasgow and realise how much fun people are having, it breaks down barriers. I am just showing what is in front of me. I think that is the essence of it. That is what is important for me — to give a simple view of how things are. It is easy to ingest. It is a fleeting moment on the beach but it also reflects on humanity itself. We are a just a fleeting thing in the cosmos. We are part of some-thing bigger but we are just nothing — just fleeting. It can go over so quickly. Creativity is the universe. And everything we do that is creative is positive.”
Stephen Grant has been painting for more than 40 years. He encourages everyone to be creative and if it is drawing then here is what he has to say, “A painting is only bad as long as it is in your mind. Once it is drawn it is a good painting and you are an artist.”